Re: May section 1 trip

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It seems early enough that you shouldn’t have to worry about a campground reservation and certainly not a two-night minimum before Memorial Day weekend. But I don’t live there, so I’m not 100% positive. Perhaps someone else can weigh in on that. Through-Paddlers certainly don’t think about that!

If you are not like Chris 😉 and don’t care about when you portage, there are also some really nice lean-tos on 7th lake before reaching 8th Lake Campground, one is on the island opposite the campground beach/boat landing. Yeah, you’ll have to load and unload right away, then portage, but if you are worried about camping reservations, know that you have this option (and the lean-tos on 8th lake as Chris pointed out.) Unless you REALLY want to stay in a campground, I’d definitely urge you to consider camping in the lean-to.

The Forked Lake Campground Road portage to the Raquette River seemed long to me (both times I’ve wheeled it), maybe because it was early in the trip. It actually isn’t very bad comparably. It’s a flat road. I’d agree with Chris’s suggestion on the stopping point for that reason–it might be better to get that much closer to Long Lake. My feeling, though, is that that Lean-To is VERY used and right along the portage trail. Again, if portaging first thing in the morning isn’t a big deal, camping on Forked Lake is nice. It’s a very pretty lake and I personally love any “campground” in which one can only boat up to the site. If you do decide to stay on Forked Lake, know that the free primitive NFCT campsite shown on the map adjacent to the stream is actually closer to the dark green area denoting the State Park Boundary. When you start seeing numbered campsites you are now in the State Park campground and have to pay for the site–which you can do by going to the Ranger Station to register, if it is even staffed this early in the year. Unless it is opening fishing weekend there or some other reason why the campground would be full, I can’t imagine you having any problem just showing up and getting a site the same day.

If you think about getting farther, like heading to the Deerland lean-to at the end of the last portage when the river flows into Long Lake, don’t. Unless that lean-to has been fixed, it was rather beat-up–and I thought this area was buggy and wet passing through it. Forked Lake is MUCH prettier! If you don’t camp at the state park campground on this trip, think about it for your next trip when you pass through the Saranacs. Also beautiful lakes and sites.

As far as the shuttle goes, that unfortunately sounds about right. I used St. Regis and I think it was around that price. There wasn’t much of a difference for gear. It’s still a vehicle and one person’s time driving both ways (even though you are only headed in one direction.)

Have a great trip!